Why Won’t He Propose?

You love each other and are happy; find out if marriage is the next step to take (or not).

By Debbie Magids, Ph.D.

ou’re lucky enough to have met your soul mate and you’ve been together for as long as you can remember. He’s intelligent, kind, a good communicator and financially stable. You have a companion to go to the movies with, cook dinner with, go on vacation with and you have a steady Saturday night date. You’re in love, devoted to each
Regardless of the reason, you want it to be official…
other and committed to not seeing anyone else. Sounds perfect — you couldn’t wish for anything more. But you do...

You want marriage.

You don’t bring the topic up directly anymore for fear it may scare him away, so you resort to more subtle tactics. You drop hints: You talk about friend’s marriages, upcoming nuptials or your dreams for the future, but no bite — he simply nods or changes the subject.

In your head, you know it’s only a piece of paper and can reason that you are married in every other sense of the word. You know he’s faithful and devoted to your relationship, but you’re still frustrated. Maybe you want to be married to legitimize your union, to fit into societal norms, or to prove to yourself that you are “marriage material.” Regardless of the reason, you want it to be official — you want that piece of paper — but so far, no proposal.

What is the problem? He loves you — why won’t he propose? Here are three types of men who may balk at walking down the aisle... and their reasons why:

Type #1: The Never-Married Man
  1. If he’s never been married at this stage of the game, there may be some deep-rooted commitment issues going on in the background. These issues are not about you; they are about him only, and have been with him practically forever. These issues won’t change unless he wants them to, and you can do precious little to affect that.
  2. He may not believe in the institution of marriage. He may have strong political and/or philosophical feelings about signing a piece of paper to prove that he loves you based on principle alone.
  3. He may simply like his life the way it is and believe that the love and companionship you share is enough, so why change things?
Type #2: The Divorced Man
  1. He may have been through a very messy divorce, leaving him with a great deal of pain and anguish — which is something he’s not anxious to repeat.
  2. He rationalizes that his ex-wife and he were once in love (much like the two of you are today), but the stressors of marriage are what led to their divorce. He may equate marriage with unhappiness and refuse to live that way again, especially with you.
  3. Financially, he may have taken a huge hit by dissolving his last marriage. A man’s finances and earning ability helps to define his self-worth; he may never want to risk having to fight for “half” of his fortune again.
  4. Maybe he was lied to or manipulated by his former wife — and trust is a difficult thing to regain once it’s been abused. (Yes, even with someone new.)
Type #3: The Widower
  1. He may have experienced such a profound loss that he isn’t willing to risk losing someone like that again.
  2. He may have guilty feelings about moving on with his life — if he’s dating you, that’s one thing, but if he marries you, then he may feel like he’s replaced his wife for good.
  3. If there are kids involved, he may have feelings about bringing another “mother” into the picture.
Whatever the reason, you need to make some decisions for yourself. Take a hard look and try to understand why marriage is so important to you. If you’re in a great relationship and can live without marriage, you may live happily ever after. Chances are, he’s not going to give in at this point, and if marriage is what you need, it may be time to find a new beau.

Visit Debbie Magids, Ph.D. at
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